Saturday, December 31, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Where I'd been pleasantly surprised to find so much poetry at the Guelph Jazz Festival, I was dismayed at how small a role poetry had to play in the 2011 American Studies Association conference.
But the reading placed on the last night of the program more than made up for that, as Nathaniel Mackey and Mark McMorris read together to an enthusiastic audience. Mackey presented work from his brand new book, Nod House. McMorris read from his "Dear Michael" series. Evie Shockley presented a critical response to the readings and the poets generously participated in a wide-ranging discussion with the audience.
Click here to hear Mark McMorris reading from "Dear Michael."
And to hear Nathaniel Mackey's "Day after Day of the Dead" give this space a click.
Friday, December 02, 2011
BEFORE THE FALL . . . I went to the meeting of the American Studies Association, where I saw many colleagues and friends: Priscilla Wald and Joseph Donahue, Larry Jackson, Gene Jarrett, Mark Anthony Neal, Brent Edwards, so many others. Among the many panels I got to, one on new work on Frederick Douglass, a great digital humanities conversation, the panel I chaired presenting novel approaches to cultural studies of music . . . But by far the best was the saddest, a memorial tribute for Clyde Woods. Clyde had organized a session on post-Katrina arts of New Orleans when the ASA met in D.C. a few years back, and several of those artists and presenters were on hand at this memorial along with Clyde's family, colleagues, friends and even just people who admired his work. I had known Clyde first at Penn State, and then he turned up at the other end of my commute in Santa Barbara. The last time I'd talked to Clyde had been at a summer party to honor Geoffrey Jacques's book of criticism, which Clyde, I note, purchased and got autographed. He was always a great supporter of other people's work, and so many of us benefited from his generosity and encouragement.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I was never there for Thanksgiving dinner, but I wish I could have been. This month, what was easily one of the best sea food restaurants in the world closed after decades on the same street in Baltimore. These photos were taken on earlier visits (mostly while waiting for friends to get there -- I'm always early and friends are always late), as I went there for dinner nearly every time I was in Baltimore.
Having been born in Nebraska, I found the whole idea of eating a crab, or even seeing one, foreign when my family moved to the D.C. area, but it wasn't long before my friends overcame my initial reluctance (well, those friends who weren't trying to scare me off with tales of "dead men's fingers" and "mustard"), and soon enough I was making runs to places like Ernie's Crab Shack or down to the D.C. Marina to get steamers. Once my brother Dennis and I decided to get steamers; then decided to go to the movies. My apartment had no equipment for crabs -- we left them in the bathtub when we went to the movies, then had to recapture them upon our return. I had no crab pot, so we used a roasting pan -- you get the sorry picture.
But Obrycki's easily had the best crabs, crap cakes, scallops, shrimp you could ask for, and it was always a fun place to be. I'll miss it on my next trip to B'more -- though there will be a smaller version at the airport where, it is promised, we will at least be able to get good crab cakes.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
In the wake of the breaking news of the Penn State disaster I have learned that as long ago as last March the Harrisburg newspaper carried revelations of the fact of the grand jury investigation in progress into complaints about serial child abuse by former coach Sandusky. I confess that I do not read the Harrisburg papers, or even the State College paper; a negative effect of my commuting life.
But two things are immediately evident. Schultz, Curley and Spanier all knew that a grand jury investigation was in progress, and so far as I can tell did nothing to prepare Penn State for the horrible revelations that were sure to come. And I am certain that there are people in our university administration who follow the news from the state house and environs as part of their job responsibilities. What did they make of this news? Why was no action set in motion to meet the day when the grand jury report would be released? Why was our institution left so exposed and so vulnerable?
I have no idea if such questions will be included in the investigation now under way by the trustees, but they should be.